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Home News Everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 3a in 2020

Everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 3a in 2020

Looking back on the Pixel that changed everything.

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In 2019, Google released one of the most noteworthy budget phones in recent years — the Pixel 3a. The phone came out of nowhere following three years of flagship offerings, and it ended up making us rethink what “budget” phones should look and feel like.

Between long-term software support, solid specs, and mind-blowing cameras for the price, the Pixel 3a was something special. It’s no longer the newest or hottest phone on the market, but it is still important to talk about here in 2020.

Whether you want to revisit our review of the Pixel 3a, see how its specs hold up, or anything else in between, here’s what you need to know about the phone!

Latest Pixel

Google Pixel 4a

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The new cheap Pixel to get

$350 at Amazon
$350 at Best Buy
$349 at B&H

The Pixel 3a was one of the best deals of 2019, but if you’re shopping for a phone right now, you might as well get the newer Pixel 4a. It has a nicer design, upgraded display, faster performance, and an even cheaper price. It’s our new pick for the best value Android phone, so make sure you don’t miss out on it.

Jump to:

  • Price and availability
  • Pixel 4a
  • Review
  • Models
  • Specs
  • Design
  • Colors
  • Camera
  • Software
  • Accessories

Google Pixel 3a Price and availability

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The Google Pixel 3a was launched on May 7, 2019. The regular Pixel 3a featured a retail price of $400, with the larger Pixel 3a XL going for $480.

Google has since discontinued the Pixel 3a, though you can still find it available at certain retailers (often selling for around $300). It’s still a solid phone at this point in its life, though we wouldn’t consider it to be one of the best Android phones you can buy these days.

Google Pixel 3a The Pixel 4a is now available

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Our reasoning for that is pretty simple — you can now buy the Pixel 4a.

The Pixel 4a made its debut on August 20, 2020, and it’s a better phone than the Pixel 3a in just about every regard. It has a nicer display with slimmer bezels, faster performance, and longer update support. Everything that was great about the Pixel 3a, such as reliable battery life and a compact design, is every bit as good on the 4a.

What makes the Pixel 4a especially impressive is its price. Google sells the phone for just $350, making it $50 cheaper than the retail price of the Pixel 3a when it first came out. If you’re shopping for a new budget handset, it’s hard to do much better than the 4a right now.

Google Pixel 3a Review

The Pixel 3a and 3a XL look and feel exactly like what Google intended — cheap versions of 2018’s Pixel 3 series. The build quality isn’t as fancy, and you miss out on wireless charging and a proper IP rating for water resistance, but all-in-all, the phones stood out as some of the best values of their time.

We reviewed the Pixel 3a right when it came out, in addition to a year after its release. Both times, we were impressed with just how good it was given the low price.

The newer Pixel 4a is obviously the better buy these days, but that’s only because Google had such a strong foundation with the 3a.

Google Pixel 3a Models

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Just like the Pixel 3 and 4 series, there are two phones in the Pixel 3a lineup — the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

They’re nearly identical to one another, featuring the same design, processor, RAM, storage, and camera. However, with the Pixel 3a XL, you get the benefit of a larger display and a bigger battery.

These two things do come at a cost, however. The Pixel 3a XL was $80 more expensive than its smaller sibling, but even with that increased price, we still saw it as the best version of the phone to get.

Google Pixel 3a Specs

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In regards to specs, the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL had a very respectable offering for mid-rangers in 2019. The OLED screens were especially impressive, though the lack of an IP68 rating was a drag. Here’s the full loadout:

Operating System Android 11 Android 11
Display 5.6-inch 2220 x 1080 OLED 18.5:9 6.0-inch 2160 x 1080 OLED 18:9
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 2.0GHz + 1.7GHz Octa-core 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 2.0GHz + 1.7GHz Octa-core 64-bit
RAM 4GB LPDDR4 4GB LPDDR4
Storage 64GB 64GB
Rear Camera 12.2MP Dual-Pixel Sony IMX363 Optical + electronic image stabilization f/1.8 aperture 76° field of view 1.4μm pixel width 12.2MP Dual-Pixel Sony IMX363 Optical + electronic image stabilization f/1.8 aperture 76° field of view 1.4μm pixel width
Battery 3,000 mAh 18w fast charging 3,700 mAh 18w fast charging

Google Pixel 3a Design

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Google’s premium glass design for the Pixel 3 and 4 was pretty great, but that’s something that couldn’t stick around for their mid-range cousin. Instead, the Pixel 3a featured a polycarbonate build.

While not as flashy as glass, the polycarbonate used for the Pixel 3a series still looked really good and had almost the exact same design on the back as the flagship Pixel 3 — including the subtle two-tone finish with a colored power button.

Perhaps the biggest letdown in these regards was the lack of wireless charging. While phones made out of polycarbonate can technically support it, Google chose to omit it.

Google Pixel 3a Colors

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Speaking of the Pixel 3a’s design, there were three colors to choose from — Just Black and Clearly White from the Pixel 3, along with a brand new color called Purple-ish.

All three options looked really good, though we were quite smitten with Purple-ish. It’s a subtle paint job that added a good bit of pop without being too boastful, and to go along with the purple/violet hue, there was a yellow-clad power button that offered gorgeous contrast.

Google Pixel 3a Camera

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We boastfully praised the Pixel 3 as having one of the best smartphone cameras of 2018, and wouldn’t you know it, Google took that amazing camera and threw it right on the Pixel 3a lineup despite its considerably lower pricing.

Here are just a few of our favorite shots we took with the Pixel 3a.

So, what could you do with the Pixel 3a’s 12.2MP single rear camera? In addition to capturing truly beautiful photos, you could also use Google’s Night Sight mode to take great pictures in lowlight environments and take advantage of popular features such as Time Lapse and Photobooth Mode.

For the price, you’d be really hard-pressed to find anything that even came close to the Pixel 3a’s camera performance. We’ve seen some subtle improvements with the Pixel 4a, but the Pixel 3a will go down as the budget phone that changed the conversation around camera performance.

Google Pixel 3a Software

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In addition to industry-leading cameras, another highlight for Google’s Pixel series is its software experience.

The Pixel 3a shipped with Android 9 Pie, but it’s now running the latest available version of Android 11.

This is the same Android 11 you’ll find on any other Pixel phone, meaning it’s super clean, fast, and doesn’t bog you down with unnecessary bloat. And, as time goes on, you can relish in the fact that you have three years of guaranteed OS updates and security patches (through May 2022).

Google Pixel 3a Accessories

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No phone is complete without a few accessories, and the Pixel 3a and 3a XL aren’t exceptions.

If you’re still rocking the phone and don’t have a case yet, what are you doing?! The Pixel 3a’s plastic design is more durable than all of the glass phones we’re seeing these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. All it takes is one nasty fall for the phone to get seriously damaged, so do yourself a favor and get a case — there are tons of options for both the Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

The same goes for screen protectors. Nothing sucks more than a shattered screen, but with a protector, you don’t have to worry about that. No matter if you have a Pixel 3a or the larger Pixel 3a XL, you need to get one right now if you don’t already have one.

Latest Pixel

Google Pixel 4a

pixel-4a-render-front.jpg

The new cheap Pixel to get

$350 at Amazon
$350 at Best Buy
$349 at B&H

The Pixel 3a was one of the best deals of 2019, but if you’re shopping for a phone right now, you might as well get the newer Pixel 4a. It has a nicer design, upgraded display, faster performance, and an even cheaper price. It’s our new pick for the best value Android phone, so make sure you don’t miss out on it.

Latest

Google Maps is adding a community feed and messaging for verified businesses

Google Maps has a new way for you to keep your finger on the pulse of your city and stay informed about all the best places to eat or places to go. In the past, people used to buy newspapers to keep up with all the goings-on around the city, but times, they are a-changing.These days, if you want to know about a new great restaurant opening up or the latest hiking trail, you can find out by using the new community feed in Google Maps. There you will find the latest reviews, photos, and posts from local Google Maps experts, people you follow, food and drink merchants, and articles from publications such as The Infatuation.You can even get updates from your favorite restaurants about a new dish being added to the menu, or browse top recommendations for things to do in your area. If you’d like to branch out to new spots in the city or the country, you can pan and zoom around the map discovering helpful information for almost any location in the world.Your feed can also be further customized by your interests. For example, if you’ve marked Mexican food as one of your interests, the community feed will show you more photos, recommendations, and business posts about local places that serve that type of food.Another new Google Maps feature now allows businesses to connect directly with customers to answer questions. Starting on December 2, 2020, verified businesses will be able to send messages to customers through the Google Maps app. Later, Google will also be extending this feature to Google Search allowing verified businesses to reply to questions from customers there as well.Customers can initiate contact with businesses by tapping on the “Message” button found in the Business Profile section or from any post created by the business. Additionally, if you try calling a business and no one picks up, you’ll be prompted to send a message.I’m sure we’re all thinking it, yes, Google now has yet another messaging app. However, at least this one could turn out to be super useful and most likely won’t be shuffled off to the Google Graveyard to join Allo and the other failed attempts.

Boost Mobile Buyer’s Guide (December 2020)

Just about everyone knows the names of the “Big Three” top-tier wireless service providers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. But, for every one of these major network operators there are a number of others with their own rates, customer service, and phone selection.These prepaid Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) license towers from the big names in the space.Let’s take a closer look at Boost Mobile and learn about it the brand, its rates, and features.About Boost MobileFollowing the Sprint and T-Mobile merger, DISH has acquired Boost Mobile. Boost Mobile operates in the United States with a nationwide CDMA/LTE network for coverage. It offers pre-paid rate plans which means no long term contracts or obligations.Taxes and fees are included and include unlimited talk, text, and data. Additionally, the come with mobile hotspot capabilities and unlimited music streaming.What deals does Boost offer? Boost Mobile offers a four-line rate plan for $100 when switching from another carrier. Each line gets unlimited data, talk, and text and provides for up to 1GB of hotspot.Which major prepaid carrier has the best $40 rate plan?What are Boost’s rate plans?Boost does not charge for going over your allotted data and taxes are included in the cost. Each plan comes with unlimited data, but only a set amount of it is high speed.$35/month: Unlimited talk, text and 3GB of high-speed data$35/month: Unlimited talk, text and 6GB of high-speed data (Walmart Exclusive)$50/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 35GB high-speed data w/ 12GB hotspot$60/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 35GB high-speed data w/ 30GB hotspotAlthough Boost offers multiple plans with “unlimited” data there are differences between each. Consumers can choose the option that works best for video and music, international calling, and customer service needs. For instance, some may not care whether video is streamed at 1080p or if audio is at 1.5Mbps.5 Plans Under $50Boost recently revised its plans to create five options which cost less than $50 per month. Each comes with its own amount of data and some of them are for new, in-store customers.$10/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 1GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot (New in-store customers only)$15/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 2GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot (New in-store customers only)$25/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 5GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot (New customers only)$35/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 10GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspot$45/month: Unlimited talk, text, and 15GB 4G LTE, mobile hotspotThe $HRINK-IT! plan rewards subscribers for making on-time payments. The price drops five bucks after three payments; it drops another five after six payments. In short, you start out at $45/month and get to $35/month after paying your bill on time for half of a year.SEE: How to unlock your Sprint phoneCan I do multiple line accounts at Boost Mobile?Customers interested in family plans or multiple lines can do so with discounted pricing. As of today Boost Mobile offers a $20 discount when adding a line to one of the unlimited plans.There are currently two rate plans which offer Boost subscribers unlimited data, one for three-line accounts and one for four lines.Other Boost features and offeringsBoost Mobile provides a handful of extras (Boost Extras) to its customers, most of which can pair with the various rate plans. Details include international calling, extra data, HD video streaming, and phone insurance.Boost Mobile offers a $25 referral credit for anyone you have sign up for its service. Both get an account credit once your friend activates, pays for an eligible monthly plan and registers their new number.A Boost Perks mobile app lets customers save money with partner brands such as AMC, Papa John’s Sams’s Club, Costco, and others.What phones does Boost offer?Take a peek at the current lineup of Android phones offered through Boost and you’ll find familiar names from brands like LG, Samsung, and Motorola. There are also devices from the likes of Coolpad, ZTE, and Wiko, too.As we often see with a lot of prepaid providers, phone selection is a mixed bag, leaning more more toward affordability as opposed to performance. With that said, we do recognize there are some incredibly robust and current models, including the Samsung Galaxy S20.For those looking to save money there are also a handful devices which are certified pre-owned, meaning that although they were once used by someone else, they come with a guarantee/warranty.Can I use my own phone with Boost Mobile?You can often use your current CDMA phone, especially if it was previously paired with Sprint. Head to Boost’s website to check whether your specific model is supported. Also, we’re seeing a growing trend of unlocked phones with support for Sprint/Boost bands.

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